Right Web | December 11, 2013
With its failed campaign to get the Obama administration to bomb Syria still fresh, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee turned its attention to thwarting rapprochement between Tehran and Washington. The powerful lobby continued to support tightening sanctions on Iran even into late 2013, when the P5+1 powers reached an interim agreement for Iran to restrict its enrichment activities in exchange for minor sanctions relief while a final agreement is negotiated. In late November, the hawkish “pro-Israel" Sen. Mark Kirk revealed that he was working with AIPAC to push new sanctions even as the talks were underway, defying calls from the Obama administration to give the talks a chance.
Right Web | November 25, 2013
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is working hard to subvert the interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program. Speaking to reporters about the recent talks, Kirk echoed Israeli government talking points about Iran's nuclear enrichment program and quipped that moderate Iranians are either "out of bullets or out of money." He has likened Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain and himself to Galileo, leading one conservative writer to despair that “If this is what passes for foreign policy thinking among top Republicans, the party is in a very bad way."
Right Web | November 18, 2013
Jeffrey Goldberg, the well known writer whose track record includes serving in the Israeli military and accusing some respected critics of the U.S.-Israeli relationship of anti-Semitism, has been one of President Obama’s more hawkish defenders, praising the president for “crippling the Iranian economy” and for being “no pacifist when it comes to targeting Muslims he believes pose a danger to the U.S.” On the other hand, Goldberg has criticized Obama’s advisers for “undermining” the president by “analyz[ing] publicly the dangers of a military confrontation,” claiming that such cautionary notes encourage Iranian leaders to “breathe a sigh of relief, and make the calculations that Obama is bluffing on military action.”
Right Web | November 15, 2013
Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has advocated bombing Iran for years, once admitting that even his mom thought he’d “gone too far.” He recently wrote that U.S. credibility "is overwhelmingly built on Washington’s willingness to use force" and lamented that the Obama administration's reluctance to intervene in Syria's civil war amounts to "retreat" from the region. Dismissing the supposed moderation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Gerecht has also advised U.S. policymakers to "forget diplomacy" with Iran and instead bolster sanctions and military threats.
Right Web | November 14, 2013
Since taking over the “pro-Israel” lobby The Israel Project in 2012, erstwhile Democratic Party advocate Josh Block has led the organization into a number of sharply partisan battles, including accusing State Department officials of primarily serving the interests of their Arab “clients.” The outburst led one observer to quip, "One would think a pro-Israel activist might be self-aware enough to not make baseless accusations that others are dedicated to promoting the interests of foreign countries, but one would be wrong."
Right Web | November 12, 2013
Longtime neoconservative activist and political gadfly Bill Kristol has recently expanded his list of right-wing talking points, speaking out against comprehensive immigration reform, calling Obamacare worse than Watergate, dismissing rising reports of sexual assault in the U.S. military as a "pseudo-crisis," and defending the broadly unpopular GOP shutdown of the federal government. Foreign policy, nevertheless, remains Kristol’s overriding concern. Earlier this year, he convened a familiar group of neoconservatives and hawks to demand U.S. intervention in Syria and has called for "regime change" in his opinion pieces. Despairing over a possible rapprochement between Washington and Tehran—"appeasement," according to Kristol—he's held out hope that Israel might still attack Iran, christening the hawkish Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu the "leader of the West."
Right Web | November 12, 2013
Dennis Ross, a controversial former diplomat who served in the Obama administration before retreating to a “pro-Israel” think tank, is one of the more vocal Democratic advocates of leveraging the threat of war against Iran to extract concessions over its nuclear enrichment program. After previously advocating that the U.S. demand an ultimatum with Iran—a diplomatic “endgame” or war—Ross now argues that Washington should continue its current negotiations with Iran, but only if the U.S. is prepared to make “new military deployments” and increase sanctions while it negotiates. He has also been a hawk on Syria, arguing in a September 2013 Washington Post op-ed that if the U.S. fails to strike that country, “the hard-liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and around the Supreme Leader will be able to claim that there is only an economic cost to pursuing nuclear weapons but no military danger.”
From the Wires
A new poll suggests that Iran's nuclear enrichment program is of limited interest to most Iranians—until it is joined to the question of sanctions, in which case the program attracts nearly universal support.
Washington's foreign policy elites have generally welcomed the interim agreement on Iran's nuclear enrichment program, leaving little space for congressional hawks to advance new sanctions that could tank negotiations.
In its agreement with the P5+1, Iran has agreed to inspections of its nuclear enrichment facilities that are considerably more intrusive than required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The recent deal struck between Iran and the P5+1 on Iran's nuclear enrichment program should accommodate everyone but the war hawks.
The U.S. Israel lobby has made clear that it will fight the implementation of any interim agreement with Iran that does not require Iran to fully dismantle its nuclear reactors.
The U.S. Senate appears unlikely to vote on any new Iran sanctions before December 2013, giving the administration time to reach an interim deal with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program.
The scandal surrounding the NSA’s surveillance of U.S. allies is the latest evidence that the United States has grown increasingly alienated from its clients.